Megan Fox is Nuts and ABC is Nostalgic

It’s your daily reminder that PopRox will hold a live chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday! Get your TV, movie, music and pop culture questions ready, I’ll be answering reader questions for as long as people keep asking them. And there are reviews for the finales and entire seasons of ABC’s comedy block down below:

nut.

nut.

This is usually a PopRox off-day, but I couldn’t let it go by without shaking my head at the beginning of the end of Megan Fox, who has talked herself out of about $10 million to do Tranny 3. Even during the press tour for Tranny 2, she was doing her best to get herself kicked off the movie, blasting devil director Michael Bay. Yeah, everything she said was true, but I don’t blast my boss in public even if I wanted to for fear of losing my job, so that should an assumed rule of thumb for everyone. For years, we’ve been wondering why she’d be with Brian Austin Green, who’s way older and way past his prime both professionally and physically. Now we know — because she’s batsh!t crazy, that’s why. Anyone who ever asks “Why would Megan Fox do that???” from now on just needs to remember that one, simple fact: She’s loony tunes.

Not sure what the CW is thinking moving Supernatural to Fridays. It performed better once it got away from being paired with Smallville, now it’s back riding Smallville’s coattails? Weird. Other than that, not much new over at the CW’s schedule. I wish Vampire Diaries would move to a new, less competetive night, but it’s doing too well (by CW standards) to be shifted.

That’s everyone, so we now have a complete grid-look at next season’s network TV schedule. Tomorrow’s blog will probably be taking a closer look at the time-slot battles to figure out what I’ll be watching come September. ABC sent me some screeners and trailers of its new shows this morning, maybe I’ll take a crack at some of those.

SPOILERS COMING FOR ABC’S COMEDY BLOCK, TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THESE SHOWS YET!!! Not that any of them are really “spoilers” since it’s not like they’re that secret or anything. Which brings me to my point. Remember the good ol’ days of TV when not everything had to have some big, crazy ending or breathless cliffhanger? Those were good days. The days where you didn’t know The Cosby Show actually ended its season unless you looked it up in TV Guide where the description said, “In the seventh season finale …” And if you missed that, you didn’t realize it until June when it suddenly dawned on you that you had been watching repeats for three weeks. So it’s refreshing that Cameron on Modern Family didn’t have an HIV test (*COUGH*, Brothers and Sisters *COUGH COUGH*). Sue Heck on The Middle didn’t take a pregnancy test. Bobby on Cougar Town didn’t lean over on a bridge contemplating suicide as the credits rolled. In the first season for each show that has been part of a larger throwback effort by ABC to try and revive the family sitcom, each season finale resembled the subtle season finales of its 70s and 80s predecessors by looking back at the fictional happiness of each family — no matter how they define it — instead of extending the limits of believability with a hacky trick ending designed to bring us back next year. There’s a Simpsons episode where Smithers gets fired and tries all kinds of different jobs, including the PA announcer at a drag race, and he’s forced to say all these corny lines. After spouting another one, he accidentally lets go over the mic, “The people are already here, we don’t… need to keep hustling them like this, do we?” ABC took the advice of Smithers — they didn’t hustle us, they just trusted we’d be coming back next year.

the kids make the show

the kids make the show

THE MIDDLE: The complete and pleasant surprise of my TV watching year, which means one of two things — I’m getting really old and starting to identify with parents instead of kids or it’s just plain funny. For the sake of my sanity, I’m sticking squarely with “funny.” On the surface, this shouldn’t have been as funny as it was. I never liked Patricia Heaton, couldn’t picture Neil Flynn being anyone other The Janitor and worried it would be a Malcom in the Middle clone. But here’s where my blanket “I’ll watch anything once” theory works, because I laughed out loud three times at the pilot, all from youngest kid Brick. That’s good enough to give it a couple more episodes, and each week it got better than it was the last week to the point where it’s dependable, relatable and very funny comedy each week. There are about 10 new shows this season I can say I’m disappointed that I watched even for an hour — but The Middle is one of the only ones I can say I’m glad I watched. FINALE GRADE: B. SEASON GRADE: A

it's been really, really hard all year for me to believe this is the same lady from happy gilmore. they look like two different people.

it's been really, really hard all year for me to believe this is the same lady from happy gilmore. they look like two different people.

MODERN FAMILY: The first half of the year, I was mad at Modern Family. Like, not-watch-it-in-protest mad. I didn’t understand why it was getting the attention and love people were dumping on it like the show somehow invented comedy. But how could it invent comedy when it was a family version of The Office? Which itself was a copy of the original Office? Phil Dunphy made me even angrier, because he was just Michael Scott as a father, and it was really making me angry that I was the only one who was missing it. I didn’t find it nearly as funny as The Office on its worst day. Plus, it conflicted with Glee, so Modern Family was the loser in that battle. Then Glee went on its long hiatus, so I opened myself to the possibility of Modern Family again — thankfully. I’m not saying I was wrong with my initial assessment, and I’m still angry that I seem to be the only one realizing that Ty Burrell secretly watches tapes of The Office wondering, “Hmmmm, how can I be more like Michael Scott?” But once you get past that, it’s hysterical. Last night’s finale laid it on kind of thick, but as the staple of ABC’s throwback schedule on a night of throwback finales, it’s not coincidence that Modern Family reached right into the Growing Pains/Family Ties/Hogan Family/Whatever Cheesy 80s Sitcom vault and pulled out a mud fight to end the season. That was followed by family patriarch Jay first self-deprecating his family, then saying how much he loved them. Awwwwwwwwwww. FINALE GRADE: B-. SEASON GRADE: B+.

yup, that's laurie's job, to pop up from behind jules every now and then.

yup, that's laurie's job, to pop up from behind jules every now and then.

COUGAR TOWN: It’s almost he red-headed-stepchild of this comedy block. It’s rude, decidedly adult fare that is trying to fit in with straight family-themed comedy. That’s OK, it’s designed that way. But for as original and topical as it may look and sound (Hey a cougar, that’s a new word!!!), it’s just as much of an 80s and 90s sitcom homage as all the others, just with snappier, smarter, hit-and-miss dialogue. Maybe more of a copy. They spent 80 percent of the year in the Cheers/Moonlighting “will they or won’t they” territory with Jules and Grayson, hit the “divorced but friends” angle of Who’s the Boss and Golden Girls and the “crazy, slutty friend” aspect of Will and Grace. The only thing that was new about the show was the Aaron Sorkin-on-pot scripts … oh wait, showrunner Bill Lawrence already pioneered that in Scrubs. So unless you have likable characters and good actors, this show ran the danger of looking like a retread of every other sitcom you’ve ever seen. That’s where Cougar Town managed to score — nailing down good, funny actors who all make you forget about their prior work history. The palling-around thing gets boring and tedious at times — isn’t there anyone else in this town? — and I have reality issues with Jules for the same reason I have reality issues with Phil on Modern Family. These people seem to be living pretty good, comfortable lives, but they’re Realtors working in the worst realty market in history! Can’t we at least mention the recession, or broach the possibility that business is hurting? But this is why these shows are throwbacks — reality never seems to seep into their lives. It’s the old sitcom theory that everything has to be wrapped up in a half-hour. We bemoaned it in the 90s when shows like Seinfeld reminded us TV comedy can still be an art form instead of a blanket forgery, but it’s fun to go back to see weekly comedy just for comedy’s sake. The finale is probably a week too late — Travis’s graduation should really have been the finale — and the beach scene looked like Saved by the Bell at Malibu Sands (not a compliment). But the finale, like the show, is what it is: A seemingly new show with funny actors that hides very well the fact that it’s the same sitcom we’ve been seeing since the 70s. At least it’s copied the good sitcoms instead of the bad ones. FINALE GRADE: C+. SEASON GRADE: B-.

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